Mass Combat for Fantasy Fuzion & Birthright
In examining the mass combat systems from the Fantasy Hero Companion, I became inspired to do a like implementation for Fantasy Fuzion. After all, in the Birthright setting where heros could be kings and queens, there was often call for them to lead forth armies to defend their lands and strike down their enemies. Until now, those of us wanting to us Fuzion were limited to using the War Card system presented in the AD&D Birthright setting. Now I bring you a Total Fuzion Mass Combat System!
Like the Fantasy Hero Mass Combat System, this system is scalable, giving generals flexibility in army composition and new unit construction. I have included numerous translations of the Birthright War Card units, but you may wish to follow the system I developed to create your own or expand the current listings.
This system should be used with miniatures and a hex map. You can use any terrain. Stacking of units is not allowed, except in the case of characters which may join any large unit.
First, I felt it important to determine exactly what made up fantasy battle units. The Birthright system indicates about 200 individuals. However, if one looks up the costs for monthly pay, housing, training and arms costs, the numbers are way off!! Instead, I used a simple rule of thumb. This brought the numbers down to a manageable level, and made the listed costs per unit more realistic. Here's the formula:
Total Body per Unit = 100 * War Card Hits
Total # of Persons = Total Body per Unit / Body per person
Thus, if a unit of infantry had 2 War Card Hits, then the Total Body would be 200. If you had decided that the infantry was filled with reasonably average people, (Say 3 BODY), then the Total # of Persons in the unit would be 67. This number seems to me to be far more in line with a medivel or fantasy unit. And since the system is scalable, you can build "massed infantry" units of hundreds of individuals by recruiting them at the per unit cost, and simply re-arraging them into "combat units". Massed together, they'd pack a bigger punch and could take more damage.
If you are creating units from scratch, keep in mind that a War Card Hit (using this system) is equivalent to 100 BODY of people or, thinking of it another way, 5 * 100 BODY = 500 HITS per War Card HIT.
Next, it's important to understand scaling. Rather than roll dozens of dice and figure damage for units with combined totals of thousands of HITS (Fuzion HITS, not War Card Hits), it's far simpler and faster to scale the battles. Obviously you'll lose some detail doing this, but you'll keep far more detail than you would using the old War Card system.
First divide up the units such that the scale of the battle remains somewhat uniform for all units. Note that if you use my War Card conversions, this is already done for you.
Using the example from before, we have determined that each individual in our Infantry unit had pretty average stats, except that they were reasonably well trained. Thus using Instant Fuzion, we might have 3 MENTAL, 3 COMBAT, 3 PHYSICAL, and 4 MOVE.
Note that Instant Fuzion is simply a way to quickly note characters. I.e. instead of figuring out Intelligence, Willpower and Presense we lump them together and give the average value under MENTAL. Likewise, Technique, Reflex and Dexterity are grouped as COMBAT. Constitution, Strength, and Body are PHYSICAL. Move is, well MOVE!
They have a 3 PHYSICAL giving us 15 HITS a piece. We arm them with swords. These will do 3d6 if the Strength minimum of 4 is met. Our infantry isn't too muscular, though, so since we are one point under the minimum we lose one die of effect for a total of 2d6. Our calculations above have already determined for us the number of individuals in the group to by 67. Using the chart, we see the Damage and HITS modifier is +30. Thus our new unit has 45 HITS and does 2d6 + 30 HITS to opponents. Our well-trained infantry has a fighting skill of 4 (this counts for both melee, melee evade, and ranged evade since we are just summarizing the abilities for the average soldier in the unit). Looking at our equipment section on swords tells us that there is a +1 AV modifier. Thus the total AV for the unit is 3 (COMBAT stat) + 4 (skill) +1 (sword) = 8.
Each unit has a Cohesive Battle Rating (CBR) based on their fighting ability or strength of will. Essentially, this determines how easily a unit will break up when it gets hit in battle. It's a combination of morale and training. For instance a bunch of levies are ill trained, and liable to break up and run when a determined attacker such as knights smash into their midst. Also, one might note that although undead might not worry about such things as morale, they can still be scattered by an attack unless they are well trained or strongly controlled. Consult the table and formula below and use the lower of the two numbers for the CBR rating. When the unit takes half or greater its modified HITS after armor in a single attack, a CBR check is called for.
|WILL + Concentration + 3d6 vs. DV 18|
Continuing our example, we have two options here. Using the straight combat skill give us a CBR roll of 11+ on 3d6. (Note that if you wish to use the d10 method for morale, just subtract 5 from the Roll number). Using the formula, I know the Infantry have a 3 WILL (based on its 3 MENTAL Instant stat). I also know that usually the Concentration skill is an everyman skill with a value of 2 in it. These guys ain't no veterans, so I'll leave the Concentration skill at 2. This gives us a 3 WILL plus 2 Concentration for a total of 5 plus 3d6 vs. a difficulty value of 18. Hmmm... this means I'd have to roll a 13+ on 3d6 to keep them from cracking up under pressure. The 11+ roll based on their skill sounds a lot better to me, so I'll stick with a straight CBR roll of 11+, thus relying on that fine training I'm paying for.
After doing all this work, we can finally bring it all together in a neat little package of information about this unit.
Setting up the battle area is mostly up to the GM, although a little consulting with the players is probably in order. Size of the battle area can vary, but 3 x the fastest unit's MOVE in hexes at it's widest point is a decent rule of thumb. In cases where one army is not encircled by the other, each side should determine which side of the map is their Reserve Area. The attacker and defender should take turns placing units on the battle area or the reserve, with the attacker placing first. I'd recommend not allowing placing units farther than around 5 hexes from the edge of the battlefield. Also, units may be freely moved into or out of the reserve area during the Movement phase, although a unit may not be both moved into the reserve and moved out of the reserve in the same Round. Additionally, no units may move into an enemy reserve area! The reserve area should be considered out-of-combat and units here are in Non-Combat status and movement. Obviously, if one or the other of the armies is encircled, then that army will have no reserve area, no place to withdraw to. Obviously, its best to use miniatures which at least vaguely resemble the individuals of the unit it is to represent. Good sized hexes on the hex map are also recommended so you can more easily accomodate very large or mounted miniature more easily. All of these set up guidelines are only suggestions, however, and a battlefield can look like anything you like.
The GM determines the relative distance and position of the units. The GM must also determine which army is the aggressor. Even if an army is on it's home ground, if it is launching an attack against another army, then for the purposes of this particular battle, it is the attacker. That army must move all its units first, before the defender moves any of his. This represents a home ground advantage or defensive stance on the part of the defender.
A unit may move its MOVE in hexes per round. To change facing, it costs one MOVE per hex side. Thus, for a unit to turn and face the opposite direction, it costs 3 MOVEs. A unit may not move into an opponents Reserve.
Magic and Fear
A terrible monster such as a dragon may decide to try to scare off its opponents rather than fight them. This kind of Fear or Presence attack still counts as a 0-Phase action, however, so any Ranged, Charge or Melee attack it was planning to make can still be done. Roll Presence as normal, but it must act against the unit's Resistance. Use this formula:
|Unit Resistance = MENTAL x 3 + (Damage & Hits Modifier / 2)|
If the unit has not moved, it may make a missile attack now. The damage will be resolved before any charge or melee attacks, so if the unit is being charged, now is a good time to try to hit that unit before it does damage! Use the usual Fuzion rules for attacking and hitting, i.e. use 3d6 + attacking unit's Attack Value (AV) vs. 10 + the defending unit's Defense Value (DV).
Special Area Effect Rule for Ranged Attacks. Ranged attacks of units of 16 or more individuals are not resolved against the DV of the unit. Usually, a unit this size is trying to put as many missiles as they can into the target area (and in these larger-scale combats, they have enough time per Round to really pepper an area, too!) Therefore, use the Targeting Against Range chart to find the Difficulty Value. For convenience, it is reprinted here.
A unit making ranged attacks can attack enemy units within a 60 degree arc of its facing. It may not make ranged attacks against units which engaged it in a Charge or Melee attack the previous round and are still in an adjacent hex and are still facing it.
All charges are resolved simultaneously. Only units with a Charge rating may make this kind of attack. It is resolved before melee, so it is possible to destroy an entire unit before it has a chance to react! Generally, units equipped with Lances of some sort have a Charge rating. Also, a few especially virulent units of Berserker may have a Charge rating. The unit must be in a hex adjacent to its target and facing it to complete the attack. A minimum of one hex must be between the charging unit and the defending unit at the start of the Movement phase in order to Charge.
Again, all Melee attacks are resolved simultaneously. Use the Fuzion method of AV + 3d6 vs. DV + 10 to determine whether a hit may have been made. A unit may only attack units which it is facing!
Ranged Attack for Units which Moved
Units which moved but have not already attacked may attack now. Crossbow units may not attack if they already moved. Use the same rules as in Ranged Attack above.
Special note on Attacked Units: When an enemy unit moves into a hex adjacent to an enemy and is facing its target, the target unit may not move except to change facing. Such units are "locked into combat" until one unit or the other is forced to Fall Back or voluntarily falls back in phase C) CBR checks.
Determine damage by figuring the Scaled Damage. Subtract the Defense of the unit and compare the remaining hits to the Scaled Hits of the unit. If Hits done by the attack is greater than half the Scaled Hits of the unit, the unit must make a Cohesive Battle Readiness(CBR) check. If the check is failed, the unit takes one War Card Hit and must roll another CBR check! Each CBR check that is failed removes one hit from the unit. When the hits taken exceeds the War Card Hits for the unit, the unit is destroyed. You must continue rolling for the CBR check until the unit succeeds the check or suffers enough War Card Hits to eliminate it. Each War Card Hit the unit has sustained reduces the unit's AV and DV by 2. See the following charts for details.
Whether a unit chooses to fall back, or is forced to as a result of one or more failed CBR checks, it forfeits it's next Movement phase. Falling back causes disorder in the ranks and it is necessary to spend that time organizing the unit. Thus, a cavalry unit can not charge an opponent, fall back and then charge again the next round. The cavalry unit must wait one phase before charging again.
Rally by Leader or Orator
If a unit is fleeing the battlefield, it may still be possible for a leader or great orator to rally the terrified troops. A leader with the panicked troops, or having met up with them, may make a Leadership check vs. a DV of 18. Success means the troops have taken heart and are willing to re-enter the fray! Likewise, a skilled Orator such as a Bard can also rally troops with a successful Interaction or Artisan Skill: Oration vs. DV 18.
Surrender or Withdraw
At the end of a Round, and general may call for a withdrawal. If he does so, he sacrifices any and all units left on the battlefield. He may withdraw only the units in his Reserve. A general is forced to withdraw if all of his units have been placed into the Reserve at the end of the round. In addition, for every unit of cavalry in a victor's army one unit is destroyed in the retreating army (retreating general's choice) minus one for every cavalry unit the retreating army has.
A general may attempt to surrender at any time. The terms of surrender are entirely negotiable and should be roleplayed. Additionally, a surrender need not be accepted by ignoble foes!
A character leading a unit with the Tactics skill can improve the units AV, DV or CBR with a successful check vs. a DV of 18. If the check is successful (INT + Tactics skill + 3d6 vs. 18) the character can add a +1 to AV, DV or CBR for one Round. For every 2 points the character makes this check by, an additional +1 may be applied to the same values.
A character with Leadership or Artisan Skill: Oration can improve the CBR of the unit for one Round. The CBR roll can be improved by +1 for every two points the character exceeds the DV of 18.
The character may also attempt to inspire the troops with an impressive deed as well. For instance, by singling out an opponent and successfully striking him, the Leader may gain a bonus to add to his unit's AV. If in a single blow the character reduces his enemy's HITS by half, that's a +1. If it's by 3/4, that's a +2. Killing the enemy outright should earn a +3 to the character's unit's AV. Other heroic actions can earn similar bonuses--this is limited only by the players' or the GM's imagination.
Characters vs. Units
A character or exceptional being may engage an entire unit, but remember that is will not have the Damage and Hits modifier. Thus it will have to do a lot of damage to force a CBR roll. It may also take a lot of damage!
Generally, only area affect magical attacks are going to have an effect on the battlefield. As a rule of thumb, for each multiply the HITS done in the attack x2 for an area affect attack, x1.5 for an explosive area affect. If you can actually afford to field an entire unit of spellcasters, then use the multiplier and then add the Damage modifier. Keep an eye on the Magic pages of this web site for ready-made Battle Spells (these are the really big babies that utilize multiple spell casters and/or assistants) that are scaled to the units described in the Appendix.